Overall mortgage applications were up 2 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, taken higher by a surge in refinancings, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

The seasonally adjusted refinance index increased by 9.5 percent to 1,748.7 from 1,597 one week earlier, while the purchase index decreased by 3 percent to 397.9 from 410.2 the previous week.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 43.7 percent of total applications from 40.3 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 27 percent of total applications from 25.5 percent the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.36 percent from 6.32 percent. Points including the origination fee increased to 1.11 from 1.06 for 80 percent loan-to-value-ratio loans.

Points, which are fees charged by lenders for loan processing, are expressed as a percent of the total loan amount.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.04 percent from 5.98 percent, with points including the origination fee decreasing to 1.06 from 1.08 for 80 percent loan-to-value-ratio loans.

The average contract interest rate for one-year ARMs decreased to 5.95 percent from 5.96 percent. Points including the origination fee decreased to 0.77 from 0.82 for 80 percent loan-to-value-ratio loans.

Washington, D.C.-based Mortgage Bankers Association is a national association representing the real estate finance industry. The survey covers approximately 50 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.

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